By Andrew Edwards
Many peoplehave the impression that the only benefit of weight training is to build muscle mass and get big. The truth is however, that weight training in its various forms is also great for burning fat and toning muscle.
Even if you’ve never been to a gym or are opposed to the idea of lifting heavy weights amongst a crowd of sweaty guys please shelve your skepticism and read on.
Let’s take a look at five ways weight training can help you get to where you want to go when it comes to fitness:
1) Cardio & Resistance Training. Most people try to burn fat by cardiovascular workout alone. They may do aerobics, power-walk, play a sport or hit the treadmill. Cardio is an indispensible part of any fat burning regimen, though better results will be achieved when some kind of resistance training is included. Consider arm and ankle weights for example. Any power walking session will increase in intensity and in turn burn more calories with the addition of strap on weights at your extremities.
2) Burn fat while you sleep. Weight training burns fat by stressing out your muscles. This minor ‘damage’ results in the ache you feel post workout. While your body is repairing the damage it’s consuming calories and as such burning fat. Hence, your workout continues even while you sleep!
3) Light weights & high reps. This is a great way to tone the muscle you already have. When you use lighter dumbbells for example to perform curls and a host of other exercises, you help stop the natural atrophy of your muscles that occurs as you get older. Not only will you experience the benefit of burning fat by consuming more energy, you will also start to look more toned and defined.
4) Heavy weights & low reps. Lifting heavy weights less often is the key to muscle growth. Body builders want to stress their muscles to the point of failure, so they achieve the greatest increase in size during the recovery period. They are in a constant cycle of ‘tear & repair’ as their bodies respond to the increased demands put on them. Heavy weight training can help those wanting to burn fat also, when used as part of a complete training regimen. By stressing your muscles out in this way even once a week, you’re aiding in the growth, toning and fat loss processes.
5) Keep your muscles confused. The human body is extremely good at adapting itself to new conditions and physical demands. If you jog every day, your body rebuilds itself to perform that task. So too if you swim or do weight training. It’s common knowledge though that a good swimmer is not necessarily a good runner. We have to train for the specific task we want to perform. When you lift weights, your body will be stressed out initially, though grow accustomed to the practice over time. This adaptation leads to great efficiency and less energy consumption during the exercise.
By mixing up your weight training routine with different exercises, you can trick your body into thinking you’re starting something new each time you train. This keeps energy consumption at a maximum and burns more fat.
To conclude, there are many ways to achieve your fitness goals. By incorporating resistance training and weights into your regimen, you can get where you’re going faster and look a little more toned in the process.